Case study: Speeding up the sales cycle

21 Nov 2005

Software development company Adest had already undertaken a number of initiatives to improve its sales cycle processes before it became one of the first Irish firms to implement Microsoft CRM. Having outsourced its telemarketing and brought in client relationship development specialists, the missing piece in the jigsaw was a customer relationship management (CRM) system to help manage it all.

Launched last April, Microsoft’s pitch for its software was about bringing CRM within the reach of smaller firms, with software that integrated easily with Outlook as well as financial and enterprise resource planning systems.

A good introductory offer, and the fact that Adest develops document management software around the Microsoft environment, immediately made it a candidate for consideration. To date, it is an investment that has delivered on its promise for the 20-strong company. “It has certainly met our requirements for the past 12 months and it’s done what we wanted it to achieve in terms of prospect and client relationship management,” says sales director Andrew Frazer (pictured).

He says the biggest benefit has been the significant improvement in the way the sales pipeline is run. “We can track every single lead from the time it arrives in to fruition. We can trace the status of that particular lead throughout the entire cycle,” he explains. “We didn’t have the capability to do that beforehand. It required a lot of meetings with the sales teams with verbal updates and input into other systems and spreadsheets. Because everyone is now using the system in real-time throughout the cycle, we can tell at any one moment where the sales pipeline stands.”

The package is used by eight staff in sales, administration and marketing roles, accessed from the firm’s offices in Dublin, Cork and London. Running on Microsoft’s Small Business Server 2003 it is accessed either via a standard web browser over the office local area network (LAN), or remotely via its virtual private network (VPN). When field sales reps are unable to log into the VPN they use Microsoft’s Outlook to access the customer information. The data is copied to their laptop before they leave the office, with the updated version loaded back up when they return.

The firm chose Capricorn CRM as its implementation partner for what was to be a smooth and painless installation, not least because Adest had just invested in new servers so there were no upgrade requirements.

Now the firm can look forward to the next phase of its plan. “The roll out to our client services division and the development team is the next project for early in the New Year,” says Frazer. Adest is looking for its CRM solution to manage the firm’s client services division, the call-logging systems and its technical service department.

“We’d also like to be able to log our development work into it,” says Frazer, “so we’ll be looking forward to seeing Version 3 of the Microsoft package, which is due out in the next couple of months, to see if it can meet our new requirements.”

By Ian Campbell